Our story

Our story


1948 - Incorporation as the Lincolnshire Naturalists' Trust

1948 - Gibraltar Point established as a nature reserve; Field Station and Bird Observatory opened

Bird Observation Committee Gibraltar Point

British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Bird Observation Committee at Gibraltar Point, 1950


1953 - Public inquiry into refusal of planning permission for caravans at Gibraltar Point

1954 - Scotton Common, first freehold nature reserve acquired 

1957 - Epworth and Haxey Tubaries acquired; appeal launched for Linwood Warren 

1959 - Old Coastguard House at Gibraltar Point leased to Trust


1960 - First national conference of Wildlife Trusts held at Skegness

1962 - Public inquiry into revocation of planning permission for caravan camp on Saltfleetby sand dunes

1963 - Waddingham Common, one of Lincolnshire's premier wildlife sites, destroyed by drainage and ploughing; First information centre at Gibraltar Point opened by Peter Scott

1965 - Headquarters established at the Manor House, Alford; Field Officer appointed 

1966 - First Trust film "Nature in Trust" produced; Protected Roadside Verge Scheme established - the first in Britain

1967 - First Area Group formed; Baston Fen acquired 

1968 - First nature trail at Mausoleum Wood, Broklesby


1970 - 'Invest in Lincolnshire's Wildlife' appeal launched

1971 - Visit of HRH The Prince of Wales to Gibraltar Point

1972 - Premier of the Trusts second film "An Eye for the Country"

1973 - Trust celebrates Silver Jubilee year; First edition of nature reserves handbook

1974 - New visitor centre at Gibraltar Point opened by Sir David Attenborough

1976 - Frampton Marsh reserve established; Director appointed

1977 - First Job Creation team appointed

1978 - Lincoln shop opened

1979 - Donna Nook nature reserve established, First Regional Warden appointed


1983 - Membership reaches 5,000; Far Ings nature reserve acquired

1984 - Gibraltar Point designated National Nature Reserve

1985 - 'Coast and Country Campaign' launched

1986 - Wash Viewpoint opened

1987 - Campaign total reached £160k; Membership passes 7,000

1988 - Far Ings visitor centre work begins; Red Data Report published - the first in any county; 90th nature reserve established; 40th Anniversary Reception in Lincoln

1989 - New reserves at Barrow Haven, Boultham Mere and Kingerby Beck Meadows; Churchyard survey launched; Whisby Nature Park established


1990 - Trust Chairman, Ted Smith, awarded the Christopher Cadbury Medal for services to nature conservation

1991 - Far Ings visitor centre opened

1992 - Fenland Lagoon created at Gibraltar Point; Robert's Field, formally one of Lincolnshire's finest limestone grasslands, rich in butterflies, but planted with conifers in the 1960s, is bought by the Trust for restoration; Pasture Wharf on the Humber Bank purchased

1993 - Trust headquarters moves to Banovallum House, Horncastle; Hebridean sheep flock established for grazing heaths and grasslands

1994 - Trust enters English Nature's Reserves Enhancement Scheme

1995 - Natterjack toad successfully re-introduced to Gibraltar Point; Crowle Waste designated as National Nature Reserve

1996 - Westfield Lakes extension to Far Ings purchased with help of grant from Heritage Lottery Fund; 'Nature in Lincolnshire: Towards a Biodiversity Strategy' published

1997 - Read's Island join Trust/RSPB project begins; Heritage Lottery Fund assists: Red Hill reserve extension, Scotton Common extension, Toby's Hill acquisition 

1998 - Trust celebrates it's Golden Jubilee; Ted Smith receives Hon. Doctorate; Membership reaches 10,000; Gibraltar Point celebrates 50th anniversary; Five-Year Heritage Capital Projects grant award; Trust is Lincolnshire Environmental Award outright winner

1999 - Ted Smith awarded CBE; Whisby Nature Park Millennium grant confirmed; Trust name changed to "Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust"


2000 - Whisby Millennium buildings complete; Bitterns breeding again at Far Ings; Croftmarsh extension at Gibraltar Point

2001 - Nature reserves close due to foot and mouth; Official opening of Millennium buildings at Whisby Nature Park by HRH Duke of Edinburgh; Greetwell Hollow in Lincoln becomes a Trust nature reserve; Grant of £365k awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund for Education and Community Project

2002 - The new Local Nature Reserve at Gibraltar Point, including Jackson's Marsh, Croftmarsh and Tennyson's Sands officially opened; Donna Nook declared a National Nature Reserve - it is the first National Nature Reserve to be declared on Ministry of Defence owned land; Wildlife Watch membership reaches 2,000; Whisby Nature Park is declared a Local Nature Reserve

2003 - Membership reaches 20,000; Five pairs of Bitterns breed in Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire; Deeping Lakes nature reserve established; Launch of the Coversands project

2004 - Trust launches appeal to establish Legbourn Wood as a nature reserve; Avocets nest on two Trust nature reserves

2005 - Far Ings is designated a National Nature Reserve; Rush Furlong and Dole Wood are extended; The Trust joined in partnership with Lindum Rotary Club to organise the Lincolnshire Environmental Awards; Launch of the Lincolnshire Limewoods Project

2006 - Visitor centre at Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve re-developed and extended; Far Ings National Nature Reserve extended with the purchase of Target Lake; Five-year South Humber Wildlife and People (SHWAP) project launched; Lincolnshire Environmental Records Centre launched

2007 - New visitor and education centre opened at Far Ings National Nature Reserve; "Trustee's for Nature" - a memoir of the conservation movement in Lincolnshire and the UK by Ted Smith published; Lincolnshire Biodiversity Partnership launched

2008 - Trust celebrates it's Diamond Jubilee; "Wild Lincolnshire" - a photographic book by Geoff Trinder published; After 32 years as Director of the Trust, Stuart Crooks retires; Paul Learoyd starts as new Chief Executive; The Wildlife Trusts' Chritopher Cadbury staff medal is awarded to Stuart Crooks

2009 - Willow Tree Farm purchased; Anderby Marsh purchased; In November, the Marine and Coastal Access Bill receives Royal Assent and becomes an Act and law


2010 - Volunteers survey over 2,200km of roadside nature reserve in south-west Lincolnshire as part of the Life on the Verge Project; Two films, made in 1967 and 1972 are re-released; Whisby Wildlife Watch Group is selected as the national Wildlife Watch Group of the Year

2011 - Life on the Verge project launched in the Lincolnshire Wolds with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund; The Lincolnshire Environmental Records Centre receives it's one millionth wildlife record; Heritage Lottery Fund contribution helps communities celebrate Lincolnshire Coastal Country Park and Coastal Grazing Marshes

2012 - Ted Smith CBE, founding member and President of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust presented with The Wildlife Trusts Centenary Award by Sir David Attenborough

2013 - Appeal launched to raise £500k to purchase Woodhall Spa Airfield; A surge tide on the evening of 5 December floods coastal nature reserves and visitor centres

2014 - Visitor centres at Gibraltar Point and Far Ings closed due to December 2013 tidal surge; Plans unveiled for new £1m visitor centre at Gibraltar Point; Woodhall Spa Airfield purchased with funding from WREN's Biodiversity Action Fund Land Purchase Programme together with a £100k legacy donation from Robert Thomas Pearson and public donations; Work began to create new 40 acre nature reserve at Huttoft Marsh near Mablethorpe; Following success from Life on the Verge project, Trust receives grant of £76,300 from Heritage Lottery Fund for the Lincolnshire's Wildflower Meadows Network project

2015 - Construction of the new visitor centre at Gibraltar Point began; Whisby Wildlife Watch Group won The Wildlife Trusts' Watch Group of the Year

2016 - The new visitor centre at Gibraltar Point opened in May and was officially opened by Simon King in October with an opportunity to re-dedicate Gibraltar Point to the late Ted Smith; Woodhall Spa Airfield opened as a nature reserve as part of Lincolnshire's Heritage Open Days in September; Alford Wildlife Watch Group awarded second place in the national Wildlife Watch Group of the Year competition; Lincolnshire Coop donated £72k to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust through their Community Champions Scheme

2017 - The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) confirmed a grant for £499,000 for the Lincolnshire Plants: Past and Future Project (#LoveLincsPlants); Swinn Wood became a Trust nature reserve; Following extensive work on the reedbeds, bitterns returned to breed at Far Ings

2018 - Ponies were used to graze nature reserves for the first time; Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust celebrated it's 70th anniversary; The Story of Gibraltar Point by Barrie Wilkinson was published; A successful crowdfunding campaign enabled the distribution of 'The Lost Words' to every school in Lincolnshire, the book highlights nature words lost from the Oxford Junior Dictionary 

2019 - the middle section of Sow Dale was purchased, reconnecting the Upper and Lower parts of the valley; Two grassy fields next to Lawn Wood, and Bottleneck & Jackson’s Meadow Nature Reserves with fantastic potential for restoration were purchased; Successful breeding of water rails at Whisby Nature Park was confirmed by footage from trail cameras


2020 - The Covid-19 pandemic led to the Trust closing down some of its operations at the end of March including educational visits, events and voluntary activities, many staff worked from home but nature reserves remained opened; a pair of cranes successfully raised a chick at Willow Tree Fen; The Dynamic Dunescapes Project began; The 30by30 campaign to see 30% of our land and sea recovering for nature by 2030 was launched; Two national Environmental Land Management (ELMS) tests were secured

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